Energy Efficiency on Campus
NREL ensures the resiliency of our future energy systems through energy efficiency strategies and technologies and renewable energy on the NREL campus.
NREL is committed to the efficient use of resources, including energy. Energy efficiency strategies and technologies integrated throughout the campus include:
- ENERGY STAR-certified equipment
- Natural ventilation
- Passive heating and cooling
- Plug-load management
- Monitoring- based commissioning.
NREL's Intelligent Campus program examines actual versus projected energy use as the campus continues to expand, adding several Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum buildings over the years.
NREL meters electricity, thermal consumption, and energy use intensity in all buildings. All NREL facilities that use natural gas have whole-building gas meters and, where appropriate, all renewable energy production and consumption is metered. NREL uses an energy dashboard and other tools to continuously track energy generation and consumption.
NREL's campus is powered in part by renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, and biomass power.
On-site Renewable Energy Portfolio: Fiscal Year 2021
Photovoltaic systems at the South Table Mountain Campus and Flatirons Campus have a total capacity of 4.5 MW. PV systems are either directly purchased or acquired through power purchase agreements, and the renewable energy credits from the majority of these systems are sold to Xcel Energy to support the State of Colorado's Renewable Portfolio Standard. NREL purchases replacement renewable energy credits for these systems each fiscal year.
Wind turbines at the Flatirons Campus have 7 MW of installed capacity, including turbines used for research.
NREL's Renewable Fuel Heating Plant is a 9-MBtu/hour woodchip-fired boiler that uses woodchips from sustainable forest thinning. The plant provides about one-half of the heat delivered to NREL's South Table Mountain campus central heating system. There are two ground-source heat pumps on South Table Mountain. Solar thermal energy technologies, including ventilation air preheating systems and Trombe walls, are incorporated throughout NREL's campus .
This infographic shows NREL's Fiscal Year 2020 energy consumption by fuel type. The South Table Mountain campus consumed energy from grid electricity, natural gas, biomass, and solar photovoltaics. The Flatirons Campus consumed energy from grid electricity, natural gas, solar photovoltaics, and wind production.